'Cats lose tight game with state champs

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats boys' soccer team's 3-0 start is a just a memory now, but they are still fighting hard every game.

Last Tuesday's game against Newport was an especially tough loss.

The defending state champion Knights scored two goals in the span of less than four minutes, first late in regulation, and then right away in overtime, to escape with a 2-1 victory that, according to Newport coach Paul Mendes, kept their unbeaten streak, as of this game at 28 games, alive. However, it was not easy.

"Mount Si gave us the toughest game we've had all year, and we've already played some pretty good teams, but they had a really good game plan," said Mendes.

Junior forward Mirza Memic scored the first of the two Knight goals, in the 78th minute, taking advantage of a good bounce to get the ball past the Wildcats' senior goalie Kellon Patterson and into the net. Up until then, Mount Si had outplayed Newport for large stretches of the game.

Off the Knights' kickoff in overtime in the 81st minute senior midfielder Kohei Suwabe broke away and fired the ball past a diving Patterson into the net to give Newport the lead.

"I was just running and then Mirza (Memic) gave me like the perfect ball so I just put it away," said Suwabe.

Mount Si took the lead early in the sixth minute when junior forward Yosef Yetneberk fired the ball past Knights' senior goalie Yongkyu Kim into the back of the net. The spectacular goal gave Mount Si a 1-0 lead.

Yetneberk wasn't done, either. In the 28th minute he fired a shot which deflected hard off the post. In the 65th minute he fired a shot that would have likely gone in if not for a last-second deflection by Kim, which sent the ball over the net. Then the Wildcats received a scare, thanks to Yetneberk.

In the 72nd minute, he fell to the turf in the corner to the right of the Newport net and stayed on the ground for several minutes. He finally made it over to the bench. He returned to play to start the overtime appearing to be all right.

Wildcats senior midfielder Patrick Davis knows that while the team is playing well, they need to continue to improve.

"I think as a team, we came out here with the ability to win and the heart to win. [A] couple things didn't go our way. I think getting up 1-0 on Newport and having it come down to the 78th minute, before they scored an equalizer was just [a] phenomenal effort on our part. It's not something to get down on the team about, but something we need to improve, obviously. With two games going into overtime, and losing both of them, we need to finish strong in the future, and hopefully we can do that," said Davis.

He added team unity will be key.

"I think the team unity will really help pull us through the tough games coming up. Before really tough games we'll go out for a team dinner and I think that really helps knit the team together almost, and out on the field it really feels good playing with all my teammates," said Davis.

Mount Si, after its tie at Mercer Island last Thursday, is 3-3-1 and off this week for spring break. The Wildcats will return to action with two road games next week: Tuesday at Liberty, then Thursday at Bellevue. The Wildcats will not return home until April 27, when they host the Skyline Spartans in a rematch of last season's heartbreaking playoff game loss for Mount Si. All games will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

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